european 3g users embracing new multimedia mobile culture

By | February 7, 2006

M:Metrics, the authority on the consumption of mobile content and applications, today announced the findings of its first European Benchmark Surveys. Although 3G users account for a low percentage of mobile phones users overall, 3G users in the U.K. or Germany are as much as five times more likely to use the multimedia capabilities of handsets, with increased levels of messaging, and gaming, watching video and downloading new content for personalization of handsets. With 7.7 percent of its mobile users subscribing to 3G services, the U.K. tops Germany and the USA at 3.2 percent and 1.9 percent respectively.

Headquartered in London, M:Metrics, Ltd., the company’s European subsidiary has launched because, “European mobile and media firms have been starving for a measurement standard for mobile content consumption,” said Hervй Le Jouan, Managing Director, M:Metrics. “The market has reached a point to where an understanding of the audience for mobile content is absolutely necessary for mobile to evolve as a viable media channel, and it’s a thrill to deliver those authoritative metrics.” Mr. Le Jouan joined M:Metrics after forging a career as a pioneer in media measurement as a founder of NetValue, an online audience measurement firm that was acquired by Nielsen//Netratings, and as a senior executive with MediaMйtrie the leader in media measurement in France.

The Changing Landscape of 3G

Not surprisingly subscribers to 3G services are significantly more likely to capture and transmit video with their devices compared with counterparts on 2G networks. This is reflective not only of the superior transmission capability of 3G networks but is also due to the fact that video capture is a standard feature of 3G devices. In Germany about 9.8 percent of early adopter UMTS subscribers sent video to another user’s handset in a month making them three times more likely to send video compared with 2G German subscribers. In the UK 18.9 percent of 3G subscribers sent video from their handsets reflecting the overall higher consumption of data services in this market.

A higher propensity to consume of video is a distinguishing feature of 3G networks. Approximately 404,000 and 107,000 subscribers to 3G networks viewed short video clips on their handsets on a monthly basis during the fourth quarter of 2005 in the UK and German markets respectively. Thus 3G users in the UK are 9 times more likely to view video on handsets compared with owners of 2G devices and German 3G users are 13 times more likely to view video than counterpart subscribers on prior generation networks.

M:Metrics data indicates that 3G networks attract earlier adopter, more technology-savvy users. Subscribers to 3G networks are likely to use data services overall including services that already work well over 2G networks. “Despite the varied new messaging options, 3G subscribers are still more likely to use SMS in comparison to non-3G users, so we are not seeing cannibalisation of SMS revenues, as some have speculated,” said Paul Goode, vice president and senior analyst, M:Metrics, Ltd. “Instead, we see that they are sending SMS while being twice as likely to use mobile e-mail and instant messaging.”

Higher consumption of data services is also reflected in proportionately higher propensity to download ring-tones and games. Survey data from the fourth quarter show that 3G subscribers are about twice as likely to download a ring-tone and between three and four times more likely to download a game.

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